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Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones,
And tottering empires rush by their own weight.
This huge rotundity we trade grows old ;
And all those worlds that roll around the sun,
The Sun himself, shall die, and antient Night
Again involve the desolate abyss :
Till the great FATHER thro' the lifeless gloom
Extend his arm to light another world,
And bid new planets roll by other laws.
For thro' the regions of unbounded space,
Where unconfin’d Omnipotence has room,
BEING, in various systems, fluctuates still
Between creation and abhor'd decay:
It ever did ; perhaps and ever will.
New worlds are still emerging from the deep;
The old descending, in their turns to rise.
KRO' various toils th' adventurous Muse has past ;
But half the toil, and more than half, remains.
Kude is her theme, and hardly fit for Song ;
Plain and of little ornament ; and I
But little practis’d in th’ Aonian arts,
Yet not in vain such labours have we tried,
If aught these lays the fickle health confirm.
To you, ye delicate, I write; for you
I tame my youth to philosophic cares,
And grow still paler by the midnight lamps.
Not to debilitate with timorous rules
A hardy frame ; nor needlessly to brave
Unglorious dangers, proud of mortal strength ;
Is all the lesson that in wholesome years
Concerns the strong. His care were ill bestow'd
Who would with warm effeminacy nurse
The thriving oak which on the mountain's brow
Bears all the blasts that sweep the wintry heav'ne
Behold the labourer of the glebe who toils
In dust, in rain, in cold and sultry skies :
Save but the grain from mildews and the food,
Nought anxious he what sickly stars ascend.
He knows no laws by Esculapius given ;
He studies none. Yet him nor midnight fogs
Infest, nor those envenom'd shafts that fiy
When rapid Sirius fires the autumnal noon.
pure with plain and temperate meals, Robust with labour, and by custom steel'd
To every casualty of varied life ;
Serene he bears the peevish eastern blast
And uninfected breathes the mortal south.
Such the reward of rude and sober life ;
Of labour such. By health the peasant's toil
Is well repaid ; if exercise were pain
Indeed, and temperance pain. By arts like these
Laconia nurs'd of old her hardy sons ;
And Rome's unconquer'd legions urg'd their way,
Unhurt, through every toil in every clime.
Toil, and be strong. By toil the flaccid nerves
Grow firm, and gain a more compacted tone ;
The greener juices are by toil subdu'd,
Mellow'd, and subtilis'd; the vapid old
Expell’d, and all the rancour of the blood.
Come, my companions, ye who feel the charms
Of nature and the year ; come, let us stray
Where chance or fancy leads our roving walk :
Come, while the soft voluptuous breezes fan
The fleecy heavens, enwrap the limbs in balm,
And shed a charming langour o'er the soul.
Nor when bright Winter sows with prickly frost
The vigorous ether, in unmanly warmth
Indulge at home ; nor even when Eurus' blasts
This way and that convolve the lab'ring woods.
My liberal walks, save when the skies in rain
Or fogs relent, no season should confine
Or to the cloister'd gallery or arcade:
Go, climb the mountain ; from th'ethereal source
Imbibe the recent gale. The cheerful morn
Beams o'er the hills; go, mount th' exulting steed.
Already, see, the deep-mouth'd beagles catch
The tainted mazes; and, on eager sport
Intent, with emulous impatience try
Each doubıful trace. Or, if a nobler prey
Delight you more, go chase the desperate deer;
And through its deepest solitude awake
The vocal forest with the jovial horn.
But if the breathless chase o'er hill and dale
Exceed your strength; a sport of less fatigue,
Not less delightful, the prolific stream
Affords. The crystal rivulet, that o'er
A story channel rolls its rapid maze
Swarms wi!h the silver fry. Such, thro' the bounds
Of pastoral Stafford, runs the brawling Trent;
Such Eden, sprung from Cumbrian mountains; such
The Esk, o'erhung with woods; and such the stream
On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air,
Liddal; till now, except in Doric lays
Tun'd to her murmurs by her love-sick swains,
Unknown in song: though not a purer stream,
Thro' meads more flowery, or more romantic groves,
Roll's toward the western main. Hail, sacred flood !
May still thy hospitable swains be blest
In rural innocence; thy mountains stil}
Teem with the fleecy race; thy tuneful woods
For ever flourish; and thy vales look gay
With painted meadows, and the golden grain!
Oft, with thy blooming sons, when life was new
Sportive and petulant, and charnı'd with toys,
In thy transparent eddies have I lav'd:
Oft trac'd with patient steps thy fairy banks,
With the well-imitated fly to hook
The eager trout, and with the slender line
And yielding rod solicit to the shore
The struggling, panting prey: while vernal clouds
And tepid gales obscur'd the ruffled pool,
And from the deeps call'd forth the wanton swarms.
Form'd on the Samian school, or those of Ind,
There are who think these pastimes scarce humane.
Yet in my mind (and not relentless I)
His life is pure that wears no fouler stains.
But if, thro' genuine tenderness of heart,
Or secret want of relish for the game,
You shun the glories of the chase, nor care
To haunt the peopled stream ; the garden yields
A soft amusement, an humane delight.
To raise th' insipid nature of the ground;
Or tame its savage genius to the grace
Of careless sweet rusticity, that seems
The amiable result of happy chance,
Is to create; and gives a god-like joy,
Which every year improves. Nor thou disdain
To check the lawless riot of the trees,
To plant the grove, or turn the barren mould.
O bappy he! whom, when his years decline,
(His fortune and his fame by worthy means
Attain'd, and equal to his moderate mind;
His life approv'd by all the wise and good,
Even envied by the vain) the peaceful groves
Of Epicurus, from this stormy world,
Receive to rest; of all ungrateful cares
Absolv'd, and sacred from the selfish crowd.
Happiest of men! if the same soil invites
A chosen few, companions of his youth,
Once feliow-rakes perhaps, now rural friends ;
With whom, in easy commerce, to pursue
Nature's free charms, and vie for sylvan fame :
A fair ambition ; void of strife or guile,
Or jealousy, or pain to be outdone.
Who plans th’ enchanted garden, who directs
The visto best, and best conducts the stream;
Whose groves the fastest thicken and ascend;
Who first the welcome spring salutes; who shews
The earliest bloom, the sweetest proudest charms
Of Flora ; who best gives Pomona's juice
To match the sprightly genius of Champaign.
Thrice bappy days! in rural business past;
Biest winter nights ! when, as the genial fire
Cheers the wide hall, his cordial family
With soft domestic arts the hours beguile,
And pleasing talk that starts no timorous fame,
With witless wantoness to hunt it down :
Or through the fairy.land of tale or song
Delighted, wander, in fi&titious fates
Engag'd, and all that strikes humanity:
Till lost in fable, they the stealing hour
Of timely rest forget. Sometimes, at eve,
His neighbours lift the latch, and bless unbid
His festal roof; while, o'er the light repast,
And sprightly cups, they mix in social joy ;
And, thro' the maze of conversation trace
Whate'er amuses or improves the mind.
Sometimes at eve (for I delight to taste
The native zest and flavour of the fruit,
Where sense grows wild and takes of no manure)
The decent, honest, cheerful husbandman
Should drown his labour in my friendly bowl;
And at my table find himself at home.
Whate'er you study, in whate'er you sweat,
Indulge your taste. Some love the manly foils;
The tennis some; and some the graceful dance.
Others, more hardy, range the purple heath,
Or naked stubble; where from field to field